Editorial: Gender Neutral Bathrooms in the School

Editorial: Gender Neutral Bathrooms in the School

Alex G.

Students at the Lower Dauphin High School struggle everyday to use a restroom they feel comfortable using while at school. Lower Dauphin High School needs more single room, or gender neutral, bathrooms for transgender and non-binary students, or students that don’t feel comfortable using the public, bathrooms. 


Lower Dauphin has many faculty bathrooms that often go unused or aren’t used very often. A faculty member said, “Four minutes is not enough time to be able to use the faculty bathroom. I would prefer to use the faculty bathroom due to the distraction in the student bathrooms, however [I] often use the student bathrooms due to time shortages.” An option could be to change these unused faculty bathrooms into two gender neutral bathrooms. One could still be reserved for faculty members when they have time, and one could be used for the students. 


There is also only one gender neutral bathroom located by the cafeteria. This is a very far walk and inconvenient for students that may be in the 100 wing or 1000 wing during the school day. This then takes up more class time for the students. Students interviewed stated, “The school should be more open minded and inclusive of students on the gender spectrum. It is very much out-of-the-way because it’s outside the gym and cafeteria. My classes are resided in the further wings, so it’s more of a hassle to use it and not very inclusive” and “ As a male my restroom options are significantly reduced because of the vandalism in the few bathrooms we do have.” Adding more gender neutral bathrooms would be beneficial to not only the transgender community, but also students who would  prefer a single bathroom or a more convenient bathroom due to the walk, and missing class time. California Department of Education release # 21-94 said “State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today the formation of an ad hoc committee that will be charged with making recommendations to expand the availability of gender neutral bathrooms on California school campuses”. 


Gender assigned bathrooms can also cause a large amount of anxiety for the transgender and non-binary community. California Department of Education release # 21-94 said “Many of the students shared they would go the whole day without using a bathroom because they felt unsafe”.  Many students are unsure of which bathroom to use, especially when they’re trying to portray their true identity. A student stated “ Sometimes I feel anxious using the bathroom of my gender assigned at birth. If I use that bathroom and I’m presenting more masculine I feel as though all eyes are on me, and I’m being silently judged. A gender neutral bathroom would provide a safe space to keep [us] from feeling judged.” Gender neutral bathrooms would be very beneficial to many students on the gender spectrum who are trying to figure themselves out and don’t want to feel as though they are being watched or judged.” Choosing a bathroom to use can also be very difficult, as many may not always know where they’re supposed to go. Michigan State University stated “Increasing the prevalence of restrooms where any gender is allowed would give the transgender community a clear safe haven”. 


Although adding this accommodation would be very expensive and take a lot of time, it would allow Lower Dauphin to be more progressive and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and students. It would also allow the students and faculty members to feel more comfortable with the bathrooms they are using. Many students would feel more comfortable and safe using the restrooms at school if they knew they had a safe or private space.


Not providing enough gender neutral bathrooms is a problem, one that can be fixed. Whether that be adding more bathrooms, turning some more bathrooms into gender neutral bathrooms, or even using the faculty bathrooms as student bathrooms as well. One could still be reserved for faculty members, while one for students. This is important for finding another way to better accommodate the anxiety that comes with bathrooms for the school’s transgender and non-binary community, but also helping to accommodate students that would feel more comfortable in a bathroom that is more private and less vandalized. This could also help combat the amount of issues the boys are having, and open up another area for the males to use bathrooms without having to walk to the cafeteria.